Aberdeenshire Council is continuing engagement with local clubs and communities over planned changes to the amounts users pay to take part in sports and physical activities.
As part of the ongoing development of what’s on offer at its sports facilities, the council is also considering extending the opening hours of some swimming pools in the area.
Officers have gathered feedback from local users on the kind of hours they’d like at their local facilities and are currently investigating how newly identified funding can be used to improve current programmes.
Prices for sports and physical activities such as exercise classes, swimming lessons and room hire are due to change later this year, subject to the successful delivery of an implementation plan and continued dialogue with communities and service-users.
The council has already put in place a series of measures to mitigate the impact the changes might have on users, such as increasing the discount available for those on lower incomes and phasing in price increases over a number of years.
Council officers are in the process of contacting Active Aberdeenshire members to advise them of potential changes to their direct debits and highlighting the circumstances in which users can receive concessions.
Information about the new pricing structure will be widely available in council-run sports facilities, libraries and other council buildings as well as being promoted on the council’s website and social media feeds.
Existing bookings for clubs and groups will be held at current rates until July 31. Council officers will also continue to review eligibility for discounts as part of the process.
Cllr Anne Allan, chairman of the council’s Communities Committee, said: “Over the past five years we have built state-of-the-art facilities in Fraserburgh, Laurencekirk, Alford, Ellon and Macduff. A new sports centre has just opened in Banff and construction is due to start later this year on a new sports centre and swimming pool in Banchory. We remain committed to the continued improvement of our sports and leisure estate.”
Cllr Raymond Christie, vice-chairman of the committee, said: “Historically, Aberdeenshire has been one of the cheapest areas in Scotland for accessing sports facilities and by 2020, we now expect our prices will be around the Scottish average.
“We recognise the importance of access to sports and leisure facilities for all members of our communities and that’s why we’re planning to increase our concessionary rates for less well-off families and individuals as well as young people.
“We are keen to work with local sports clubs and users to make sure they are receiving the best deal for them. To find out more about the discounts you might be eligible for, visit our website for more information or pop into one of our sports centres where staff will be able to help.”
More information on the planned prices for 2017-18 is now available on the council’s website at http://bit.ly/sportsentryfees